Boardrooms are abuzz with talk of corporate social responsibility. Yet attempting to establish a working definition of CSR is like nailing jelly to the ceiling. Get it right, though, and everyone could win - you, the company, society and the planet. Stephen Cook reports.
Everyone cares these days. You can hardly walk through the door of a major company in the western world without tripping over stacks of glossy reports telling you how they care for the environment, their community, their stakeholders. They're all publishing their CO2 emission targets, pledging themselves to international human rights and encouraging staff to go and bathe in baked beans for charity.
As we enter the new year, Corporate Social Responsibility is the phrase resounding around boardrooms and peppering the speeches of business leaders from Seattle to Sydney. CSR is the fresh acronym to cover what we used to call sustainability, diversity or good old-fashioned philanthropy. Everyone wants a piece. But remembering Bhopal, Enron and the sweatshops of the Far East, aren't we entitled to be a little bit sceptical?